Tuesday 28 January 2020

'It’s time for a national conversation' - Labour wants debate on religious involvement in public schools

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Picture: Collins
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Picture: Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE involvement of religious organisations in the school system should be debated by a Citizens' Assembly according to the Labour Party.

The party's education spokesman, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that 95pc of primary schools are run by religious denominations.

He said: "“Instead of a public education system, we have a State funded education system which farms out responsibility for the running of schools to patron bodies."

And he suggested the constitution may need to be changed, something that would ulitmately require a referendum.

Mr Ó Ríordáin has launched a petition calling a Citizens' Assembly to be convened to consider changes to the Constitution to address religious control of the education system.

“It’s time for a national conversation about how we achieve a modern, secular and equality-based education system for the Ireland of today, and what we hope to achieve for tomorrow," he said.

Mr Ó Ríordáin also said: “The legislative and policy changes introduced to date on how we hire teachers, allow schools enrol pupils, and how patronage is awarded and divested, are limited by our basic law. 

"To fundamentally change our education system, the Constitution must change, and that should start with a meaningful and considered analysis, discussion and debate through a Citizens' Assembly."

The petition is available on the Labour Party's website. 

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